Abdul Hamid is wrong on all three claims - that Malaysia Is an Islamic State because it is recognized by ulamas and its hosting of the OIC Summit, as well as being a model Islamic State
- at a meeting of Selangor DAP state and branch leaders to review the latest political developments in the country with the Week Four countdown for the passing of the Prime Minister’s baton from Mahathir to Abdullah on November 1, 2003
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): During the winding-up of the policy debate on the 2004 Budget in Parliament on Monday (29.9.03), the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Brig.Jen. Datuk Abdul Hamid bin Haji Zainal Abidin said:
There are three fallacies in this statement by Abdul Hamid.
Firstly, whether Malaysia becomes an Islamic state must be decided by Malaysian citizens, regardless of race or religion, and not by ulamas. In the democracy practised by Malaysia for the past 46 years, in accordance with the “social contract” reached by the major communities in attaining national independence and the fundamental nation-building principles enshrined in the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 1970 Rukunegara, it is NOT for the ulamas but for the multi-racial and multi-religious citizens of Malaysia to decide whether Malaysia is to abandon its 46-year constitutional basis as a secular Malaysia with Islam as the official religion but not an Islamic State, to become a full-fledged Islamic State – whether ala-UMNO or ala-PAS. As the Malaysian people had never decided whether by way of a national referendum or a Parliamentary vote to become an Islamic State, ulamas cannot on their own change the character of the Malaysian nation.
Secondly, Malaysia’s hosting of the OIC Summit later this month cannot transform Malaysia from a secular state with Islam as the official religion into an Islamic State as OIC is not an organization of Islamic States.
In fact, the number of Islamic States in the OIC are a tiny minority as the overwhelming majority of the 57 member nations in OIC are secular and not Islamic States. The majority of the 1.2 billion Muslims in the world live in secular states and not in Islamic states.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had publicly acknowledged this in his keynote address at a symposium on “The Islamic World and Global Co-operation: Preparing for the 21st Century” organized by the Institute of Islamic Understanding of Malaysia-Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in Petaling Jaya on April 25, 1997, where he said:
In the OIC, there many member countries which have populations with overwhelming Muslim majorities but which are secular and not Islamic states like Indonesia with 88% Muslim population of 203 million Muslims and Turkey with 99.8% Muslim population with 67 million people.
OIC has also members which can never be Islamic states because of their Muslim-minority populations, and countries with Muslims 20 per cent or less in their populations include Cameroon, Mozambique and Suriname (20%), Uganda (16%), Guyana (15%), Togo (12%) and Gabon (1%)
If countries with Muslim population ranging from 1% to 20% are also members of the OIC, how could any country claim that hosting an OIC summit or membership of OIC makes it an Islamic State? In fact, former communist and atheist Russia has expressed interest in joining the OIC and Malaysia has expressed its support!
Thirdly, as OIC is not an organization of Islamic States, and Malaysia is not an Islamic State, the third fallacy that Malaysia is a model Islamic State becomes self-evident.
Why should Malaysia satisfy being a model of Islamic States, which would be comparing Malaysia with only a handful of countries like Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Iran – when we should hold ourselves as a model of the Muslim and the non-Muslim developing worlds in view of Malaysia’s multi-religious population.
Abdul Hamid is therefore wrong on all three claims - that Malaysia Is an Islamic State because it is recognized by ulamas and its hosting of the OIC Summit, as well as being a model Islamic State.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman